Entries Filed in 'Capitol news'

Millicent M. MacFarland of Augusta passed away on Saturday after a long battle with cancer

September 28th, 2014 · 2 Comments · Capitol news

The Clerk of the Maine House Hon. Millicent M. MacFarland of Augusta passed away on Saturday surrounded by friends and family after a long courageous battle with cancer. She was 58.

“I’m deeply saddened by the passing of the Hon. Millie MacFarland,” said House Speaker Mark Eves. “Millie’s service to the people of Maine and to the Maine House for the past 32 years, including a decade as Clerk of the House, has been marked by the highest standard of professionalism and integrity. Under Democratic and Republican administrations, she served faithfully. Her commitment was always to the people of Maine. In both my tenure as the Speaker and as a member of the Legislature, Millie served as an adviser, a trusted friend, and a teacher to me and to the thousands of legislators that came through the House Chamber under her watch. Her expertise and commitment to public service guided us all. As Clerk, she has been the unsung and quiet steady hand shepherding many of the laws that have shaped our state. We will all miss her at the rostrum, in the House Chamber, and the halls of our great Capitol building.”

MacFarland served the Maine House of Representatives in various capacities for over 30 years, including more than a decade as Clerk of the House, a position she held from 2012-2014 under Speaker Eves, and from December 2000 to December 2010 under prior Speakers.

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Maine Democratic candidates for Legislature rallied today for increased economic opportunity for all

September 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news

Democratic candidates for the State Legislature rallied today for increased economic opportunity for all Mainers – not just those at the very top. The rally follows the release of new economic numbers that show Maine is lagging behind the nation in job growth and income-levels. According to the August report, Maine ranks 43rd among all states in job recovery, needing to recover 9,400 jobs to return to pre-recession levels. While Maine has only recovered 63 percent of jobs lost during the recession, the United States has recovered 110 percent and New England has recovered 111 percent. The Maine Center for Economic Policy’s analysis also finds that 40,000 Mainers are looking for full-time work and can’t find it.

“Mainers are experiencing our sluggish economic growth firsthand,” said Sen. Anne Haskell of Portland, the Senate assistant majority leader. “Mainers expect leaders who will put job creation ahead of ideology at a time when so many families are struggling. Our governor has left plenty of good jobs on the table, but he’s also had help. Republican legislators caved to Gov. LePage more times than not. They are accomplices in holding our economy back when Mainers need more opportunity–and work.”

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau confirms that incomes are also declining and more Mainers are working just as hard, but for less. In 2013, the median household income in Maine was $46,974. That’s $2,300 below what it was in 2009 when adjusted for inflation.

More than 40 state Senate and House candidates gathered to recount stories from voters in their district and share their vision for change in Augusta.

“What I’m hearing at the doors is that people expect results,” said Democratic candidate for state Senate, Rebecca Cornell du Houx, of Augusta. “We need to do everything we can to ensure that we have a strong economy and economic opportunity for all.”

Democratic candidates have knocked on tens of thousands of doors this campaign season and have heard that Maine’s economy and job growth are the top issues impacting Maine voters.

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Hon. George Mitchell endorses Michaud for Maine governor

September 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Community Maine

Sen. George Mitchell at a groundbreaking for an environmentally friendly village development. photo by Ramona du Houx

Sen. George Mitchell at a groundbreaking for an environmentally friendly village development. photo by Ramona du Houx

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, the frontrunner in the race for governor, today announced the endorsement of one of Maine’s most senior statesmen, former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.

“Maine’s next governor will face serious challenges,” said Sen. Mitchell. “I’m confident that Mike’s experience at both the state level – where he chaired the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee and presided over an evenly divided Senate – and at the federal level as a ranking member in Congress, make him ideally suited to bring stability to the state budget, tackle the problems facing Maine businesses and restore a spirit of bipartisan cooperation in Augusta.”

Sen. Mitchell served as U.S. Senator from Maine from 1980-1995 and as Senate majority leader from 1989-1995. He played a lead role in negotiations for peace in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, serving as U.S. Special Envoy for Northern Ireland under President William Jefferson Clinton and as U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace under President Barack Obama. He began his political career serving as executive assistant to Maine Senator Edmond S. Muskie from 1962-1965.

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U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud calls for end to gutter politics amid Maine GOP lies

September 19th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news

Mike Michaud in Congress always stood up for the workers of Maine, despite administrations. Courtesy photo

Mike Michaud in Congress always stood up for the workers of Maine, despite administrations. Courtesy photo

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud set the record straight about recent Maine Republican Party attacks today and denounced the Maine Republican Party’s lies and dirty tactics.

“Nasty, ‘gotcha’ politics like this won’t get the economy moving. I could stand here and rattle off a list of offensive comments Gov. LePage has made, but Mainers deserve better than that,” Michaud said. “Our state cannot tolerate four more years of negativity, of baseless attacks and outright lies.”

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Vice President Biden impressed by Maine’s manufacturing history and potential

September 4th, 2014 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Economy, Labor issues, Speeches

Vice President Biden made a point to try and shake everyone's hand in the audience. Photo by Morgan Rogers

Vice President Biden made a point to try and shake everyone’s hand in the audience. Photo by Morgan Rogers

Vice President Biden toured the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard September 3rd with Maine Congressman and Gubernatorial candidate, Mike Michaud, to highlight the history and future of Maine’s manufacturing innovation.

The tour of the 214-year-old Naval Shipyard gave Michaud a chance to share Maine’s shipbuilding history, manufacturing potential, and University of Maine’s “Bridge-in-a-Backpack” initiative, with Biden.

“I’ve traveled a million miles around the world as vice president and I traveled a million miles before that,” said Biden to more than a 1000 attendees at the shipyard. “And the fact of the matter is you’re the best in the world. It’s true.”

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New AARP poll underscores need for policy reforms for rapidly aging state

July 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news

Maine's capitol at night, photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine’s capitol at night, photo by Ramona du Houx

A new AARP poll of Mainers underscores the need for policy leaders to focus on keeping seniors in their homes and communities longer.

AARP asked 2,000 Maine voters over the age of 50 about a number of issues affecting their lives. One of the areas of top concern was helping seniors to stay in their own homes as they age. Seventy nine percent of respondents said they were very or extremely likely to vote for a candidate who would work on ensuring Mainers can afford to stay in their homes as they grow older.

“We must overhaul how we think about caring for our seniors to ensure they can stay in their homes and communities longer. Maine people expect leaders to address the challenges facing our aging population,” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves, who has a led a statewide aging initiative to create aging-friendly communities across Maine.

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Congressman Mike Michaud leads the race for governor in new statewide Maine poll

July 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news

The Michaud for Maine campaign today released the results of a new statewide poll that shows U.S. Rep. Michaud leading the race for governor, with Gov. Paul LePage stuck in the 30s and independent Eliot Cutler dropping further into the low teens.

The poll, which was conducted July 14-16, found Michaud leading the race with 41 percent of the vote, while LePage had 37 percent and Cutler had 13 percent. Only 7 percent of voters were undecided.

“Our most recent poll confirms what we have seen consistently throughout this race. Congressman Michaud is maintaining a small lead over Gov. LePage, while Eliot Cutler is far behind, even after his supporters spent $125,000 on television commercials trying to boost his campaign,” said Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Michaud. “Congressman Michaud remains the candidate to beat in this race and has the best chance to unseat Gov. LePage.”

The three candidates in the race are well-known and have strong name identification, with 98 percent of respondents identifying LePage, 92 percent identifying Michaud and 81 percent identifying Cutler.

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LePage held back $4.6 million in state funding to play politics with nursing homes

July 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Health Care, Healthy Lifestyles

Maine State Capitol photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine State Capitol photo by Ramona du Houx

 Top Democratic leaders slammed Governor Paul LePage’s administration for playing politics with money that could help struggling nursing homes across the state. LePage announced that for weeks his administration has been working on a plan to provide $4.6 million in state funding to nursing homes, in addition to the $12 million already provided by the Legislature as part of LD 1776. Funds were allocated by the Legislature without LePage’s approval for nursing homes.  But for weeks LePage has been inaccurately blaming Democrats for failing to fund nursing homes. And at a press conference the Governor bizarrely claimed credit for the bill, that helps nursing homes, although his signature is not on the law.

“The Governor’s announcement is more proof that he’s been playing politics with nursing homes. Why would he sit on $4.6 million in savings when nursing homes were struggling? And why would he call on lawmakers to return to Augusta when he already had the funding?” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves. “The timing of this announcement is clearly meant to distract from his poor track record for Maine seniors and his latest out-of-touch comment labeling Social Security as Welfare. It’s smoke and mirrors.”

In addition, LePage has consistently taken funds from healthcare initiatives to help balance his budgets and give a substantial tax break to Maine’s 1 percent. LePage raided the Fund for Healthy Maine, which are monies the state receives from the federal government as part of the nationwide tabacco settlement. Governor Baldacci, LePage’s predecessor, never allocated money from the Fund for a Healthy Maine for anything other than healthcare related issues, as a matter of principle. Baldacci had stated, “the health and well being of Maine citizens has to be any governor’s top priority.”

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Cain for Congress reports more than $375,000 in 2nd quarter fundraising

July 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news

Rep. Emily Cain in Augusta. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Cain for Congress is reporting $379,093 in fundraising for the second quarter in Emily Cain’s campaign for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. That total includes $270,239 in fundraising since the last reporting deadline on May 21, 2014. This report brings the overall total for the campaign cycle to $871,491 raised by Cain for Congress.

“Emily Cain is the candidate that will represent the values of the 2nd District in Washington, period,” said Levi Knapp, campaign manager of Cain for Congress. “She advocates for the working class families in the state, and isn’t afraid to work together for the best interests of Maine people. She knows the values of the district because she shares those values. And that’s why most of her money has come from within the state – because she’s running against someone who is a millionaire who believes that rules don’t apply to him. And that’s not the voice that this district wants in Washington.”

The fundraising report, which will be reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) later today, shows the campaign with more than $243,000 cash on hand at the end of the quarter.

“Maine voters have a clear choice in November,” said Knapp. “Bruce Poliquin supports budgets that ultimately cost seniors more money and is out of step with Maine voters on issues like abortion and choice. On the flipside, Emily is the best candidate to represent the views of the 2nd CD in Washington because she shares our values, and knows how to work for the people she represents.”

Cain’s campaign has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO, EMILY’s List, League of Conservation Voters, IBEW Local 104, Equality Maine, The Maine State Association of Letter Carriers, The American Federation of Teachers, The American Nurses Association, American Maritime Officers, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, Seafarers International Union, Marine Engineer’s Beneficial Association, Human Rights Campaign, NARAL, The Women’s Campaign Fund, WUFPAC, The Council for a Livable World, and dozens of current legislators, former legislators, and town and county officials throughout the district.

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Maine panel tasked to create a plan to improve access to food for hungry children meets

July 8th, 2014 · No Comments · Capitol news, Community Maine, Public Safety

Maine State Capitol photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine State Capitol photo by Ramona du Houx

The Task Force to End Student Hunger convened yesterday in Augusta for its first of five meetings focused on developing a multi-year plan to improve access to food for students and end child hunger in Maine.

During today’s meeting, the panel focused on gaining an understanding of the scope of hunger among school-aged children in Maine and the numerous programs and agencies involved in providing meals to Maine’s students.

“The reality is that student hunger connects every part of our state. It is a Maine problem,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland, who serves as the co-chair of the task force. “If we want our students to be successful then we must improve the reality that almost one in four school-aged children in Maine is hungry.”

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